Hateful graffiti on Mt. Tom erased by hikers

Words meant to divide, instead brought people together.

Church goers meet on Mt. Tom in Holyoke to clean site and pray.
Church goers meet on Mt. Tom in Holyoke to clean site and pray.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a story 22News has continued to follow. The hateful graffiti on Mt. Tom.

On Saturday, a group of hikers traveled to Mt. Tom to undo the hurt, that spray-painted words have caused for so many. The words that were meant to divide, instead brought people together.

Sue Zegarra, of Easthampton said “I don’t think it is going to achieve anything on its own. But what it is doing is bringing people together.”

The bigoted and anti-Semitic words spray painted on rock races near the radio towers on Mt. Tom were no match for a little elbow grease and a big heart. The graffiti was scrubbed clean and covered instead with blankets painted with phrases of love.

Graffiti problem on Mt. Tom’s hiking trails

Netania Shapiro, of Florence said, “Painting blankets and sheets with messages of love in response to the graffiti that has been put up on Mt. Tom. It’s horrible and insulting. I can’t believe I live with people who feel that way.”

The hikers met at the Mt. Joe Go, near the log cabin and then began their hike. The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts organized a separate hike.

These Report It photos sent to 22News show them blessing the mountain with holy water during their prayer service.

Doug Fisher, Bishop at Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts said “We do believe in love. We believe that this is a tense time in our country and we have great hope that people will rally together and stand behind those who are in fear.”

The graffiti was condemned by Hampshire County District Attorney David Sullivan, who urged people who feel targeted by hate to call a hotline recently established by the attorney general.

That hotline can be reached at 1-800-994-3228.

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